DEVOLUTION MUST NOT STOP AT STORMONT COUNCILS SUSTAIN COMMUNITIES & STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY

Published 23 June 2017 @ 15:44

NILGA ALL COUNCIL AGM INSTALS NEW PRESIDENT The Ulster Unionist Party’s (UUP) Alderman Arnold Hatch was today (Friday 23rd June 2017) appointed President of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA), at the Association’s AGM in the Seamus Heaney HomePlace Visitor Centre, Bellaghy.

Speaking following his appointment, Alderman Arnold Hatch said: 

“Assuming the Presidency of NILGA at this time is both a privilege and a challenge. Local councils have changed dramatically over the two and a half years, but more is to come.  Whilst new local government is more powerful and has more responsibilities, it is also more stretched in terms of finances and resources. It’s a time to put communities, not institutions, first. I will continue the pioneering and delivery focused work of NILGA for all councils. I will take forward with NILGA’s Executive the Association’s Programme for Local Government, will campaign for a strong local government presence and message in key Brexit and wider devolution negotiations, will maximise investment and learning opportunities for councils and ensure best practice is put into place to suit local communities. The work of councils will undoubtedly expand, but local government here must also be more resilient, better resourced and better equipped for being a full partner in a complex public sector delivery environment now and in the years to come.   
 
NILGA continues to be resilient, innovative and business-like, in what is for local government and exciting yet challenging time. Work continues unabated despite no Assembly on planning, waste, shared services and the economy, and still more needs to be done at a regional & national level on big issues like the Programme for Government, Brexit and Devolution.
 
I want to thank the NILGA Executive and its wider membership for working as a collegiate, delivering great representation, policy advice and services. I am delighted that more professional officers and elected members are embracing the transformed landscape, but want to see this fully expressed in government policy and practice. We need to be trusted by wider government to do more, with proper resource transfers, so that our communities thrive right across the piece.” 
 
Ald Hatch concluded: NILGA will professionally represent local democratic councils, whether in Brexit negotiations, securing the 53 nation Commonwealth Investment Event for 2019, ensuring devolution to local councils happens in a way which enhances democracy and protects our councils fragile resources, developing the role of the 21st Century councillor, nurturing new talent, driving the local economy and promoting pride in our councils and each of our cities, towns and villages. 
 
In closing, Alderman Arnold Hatch thanked his fellow Officers Bearers, outgoing President Cllr Sean McPeake (Sinn Fein), Ald Freda Donnelly (DUP), Cllr Dermot Curran (SDLP) and Ald Alan McDowell (Alliance) for their support – all of whom have confirmed ongoing commitment to NILGA. 
 
ENDS